It finally happened. The New Orleans Pelicans had an off night.
After winning seven in a row, including two against the hated Suns, the Pelicans were sitting alone atop the Western Conference and looked like they might not lose another game.
Of course we knew they were eventually going to have an off night, and last night was certainly it, as they shot just 39.8 percent from the floor as a team, including a dismal 14.8 percent from 3-point range.
You won’t win many games with those shooting numbers no matter how good your defense is. Zion Williamson was really the only Pelican who showed up last night, as CJ McCollum was broke, Trey Murphy III missed all seven of his shots, and for once no one on the bench could pick them up.
It happens to all teams from time to time, and I am sure the Pelicans will bounce back, but this loss does show how important Brandon Ingram is to this team.
New Orleans Pelicans: Brandon Ingram injury update
Brandon Ingram has missed eight straight games for the New Orleans Pelicans and for the most part, they haven’t missed a beat.
The Pels rose to the top of the West in that time, putting together their longest win streak of the season and Zion Williamson emerged as a possible MVP candidate. The Pels were getting huge contributions from their role players and it seemed like a different guy stepped up every night to complement Zion.
But role players are role players for a reason, namely because they are not going to go off for big scoring outbursts night after night. For that you need guys like Zion and Ingram, who are probably the best young duo in all of the NBA.
Even though Ingram is happy to defer to Zion or CJ when they are cooking, he is ultimately the guy the Pels will turn to when they need a bucket. His mid-range game is one of the most reliable shots in the NBA night after night and you are just not going to get that kind of consistency from a Naji Marshall or Jose Alvarado, as good as they have been.
Ingram is the team’s safety valve and a guy who can carry the team himself on nights when the shots aren’t falling for anyone else.
The Pelicans need to get him back, but it looks like he’ll be out at least another week with a sprained toe according to Andrew Lopez among others. Apparently Ingram suffered a small setback during the week, though X-Rays are still negative and it looks like his toe is just bruised, which is good.
So Ingram is going to miss at least four more games and it could be more, which is not good for the Pelicans, who need another consistent scorer to flank Zion.